MIDDLETOWN, NJ - On January 16th, BSA Troop 32 leadership, scouts, friends, and family gathered to honor newly appointed Eagle Scouts Kevin Lozo and Eric Poandl.  The celebration included all the traditional components, but the most distinguished part of the day came directly from Eric and Kevin, through their individual speeches.

Many adults support Troop 32’s program, but the young men of this troop are ultimately responsible for the troop’s overall scouting experience.  Both Eric and Kevin credit the troop with keeping them together with a group of four other scouts, all of whom became Eagle Scouts. When these six young men all chose to attend different high schools, it was the Tuesday night troop meetings, monthly camping trips, and week-long summer camp that kept these friends together and active in their community.

In his speech, Eric Poandl described how his group of friends pushed well past the national average of scouts to make the rank of Eagle. “I think the reason that we were all so successful in scouts was because we had each other. We weren’t necessarily competitive, but as a group no one wanted to fall behind in advancement,” Eric explained.  “We would figure things out by asking each other, and not the adult leaders. We definitely pushed each other to success.”

Accordingly, their unity and demonstrated leadership provided an invaluable example to the younger scouts in the troop. With just a glimpse of Kevin and Eric’s achievements, it is clear to see how Troop 32 shaped each of these young men’s lives, and, most importantly, how much Eric and Kevin gave back to the troop.

When Kevin Lozo took his turn at the podium, he addressed the scouts in the audience.  “I am proud to stand before you today to be an example that any scout can do this if they put their mind to it.  If you want it badly enough, it can be accomplished.  Don’t let people tell you it can’t be done or discourage you.  Take a shot as long as you know you have it in yourself. Do it for the right reason, though,” Kevin advised. “Don’t do it just to become an eagle scout, or prove anyone wrong.  Do it for the process, and not the result.”

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Eagle Scout Kevin Lozo

Kevin Lozo is a graduate of Biotechnology High School in Freehold, NJ where he was awarded Mr. BTHS in 2009. During his high school career, Kevin also earned Varsity Letters in Indoor and Outdoor Track through Middletown High School South. He attends University of Delaware and is majoring in Biology.

For his Eagle Project, Kevin designed and implemented a vegetable and herb garden at Lunch Break, a neighborhood soup kitchen on Drs. James Parker Boulevard in Red Bank. Interlocking paving stones were used to create three raised beds for flowers, and a tilled area for produce.  Two custom benches set in bluestone gravel provide a restful place from hectic kitchen activities.

“The satisfaction I got out of the project was way more than I ever imagined because it helped so many people,” Kevin said. In addition to providing starter plants, Kevin created a Garden Maintenance Handbook for the staff.

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Eagle Scout Eric Poandl

Eric Poandl is a graduate of Communications High School in Wall, NJ where he served as class President in his senior year. During his high school career, Eric was also awarded Varsity letters in Wrestling through Middletown High School South. He is currently studying Communication Management and Design at Ithaca College.

Eric teamed up with Poricy Park Conservancy for his Eagle Project. He developed and completed a plan to repair and redefine a large portion of The Cotton Tract, a trail Eric hiked many times as a young boy.  Volunteers put in 263 hours clearing brush, fixing bridges, and marking trails. Along the way, rotting boardwalks and stairs were also repaired or replaced. Eric succeeded in his goal to provide a clean, well-marked trail for walkers from his adjacent neighborhood. Now hikers can traverse Cotton Tract and safely enjoy its vast canopied vistas.

Eric and Kevin have already given a great deal to their community, but both young men believe they have, in turn, acquired considerable skills. Eric summed it up best when he said, “We’ve always been told that getting the Eagle award is such a huge accomplishment, and it will look great on your resume, and it will help you get into college and get a job. And I believe it will do all that for me. But what I will take away more than the title of Eagle Scout is the values instilled in me through scouting. I feel more confident in any trying situation, knowing that scouting has prepared me in some way to handle it.”